Carroll: The Case For Adam Gase

The New York  Jets are in the midst of their search for their next head coach with the biggest name on the docket being former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy who was interviewed at the team’s Florham Park, New Jersey headquarters this past Saturday.

     McCarthy’s coaching resume is stellar as it includes nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl trophy. Until he had a falling out with Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rogers this year which cost him his job, McCarthy was thought of as a QB guru as he was a mentor to both Brett Favre and the aforementioned Rogers. Considering that the Jets have a very talented young signal caller in Sam Darnold it would seem as if McCarthy would be the ideal hire.

     The Jets interviewed ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase the day before McCarthy’s sit-down. Gase got the ax from the Dolphins the day after the 2018 season regular season ended. Feuding with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross played a major role in his firing.

      The 40 year-old Gase may not be as accomplished as McCarthy, who is fifteen years his senior, but he certainly merits consideration. He certainly knows NFL offense having been the Detroit Lions QB coach and getting the most out of a slew of mediocre Miami quarterbacks with the best being Ryan Tannehill. The educated guess is that Gase would have a lot of success with Mr. Darnold.

     Another advantage that would come with the hiring of Adam Gase is that he already has an intimate knowledge of the Jets’ division, the AFC East, since he was the Dolphins’ head coach for the last three years. During that time the Dolphins won five of the six games that they played against the Jets and it could be argued Gang Green had better player personnel.

    Not only was Adam Gase a better head coach than his Jets counterpart, Todd Bowles, he was also better with the press as he showed grace and wit at his press conferences which was the polar opposite of the tightlipped Bowles.  

    Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has done a good job providing some bench depth by singing veteran outfielders Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco. They are a vast upgrade over such scrubs as Kevin Kaczmarski and Matt den Dekker who spent time at Citi Field during parts of last summer and were pretty much automatic outs.

     The Mets’ deal with the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend for centerfielder Keon Broxton who is known for his defensive prowess means that Austin Jackson, who did a fine job filling in for a slew of injured Mets outfielders, will almost certainly not be returning.

    Van Wagenen still needs a quality starting outfielder. He should consider free agent Adam Jones who had a fine career with the Baltimore Orioles. Jones is great with media and is a clubhouse leader.          

     New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman seemed to back off from his previous assertions that Eli Manning would be returning for his 16th season as the club’s quarterback. Sports talk radio hosts and tabloid columnists made a big deal over this apparent reversal.

     My take is that Gettleman still believes in Manning’s abilities but he also knows that he is owed $23 million for his 2019 services. In the bizarre NFL world, most of the money in contracts is not guaranteed and Gettleman is clearly hoping that Eli will blink and accept a significant salary reduction. This is just economics and old school poker playing.

      Wrestling fans were saddened to learn of the passing of longtime WWE television personality Gene Okerlund. Okerlund was terrific at conducting interviews with egomaniacal “villainous” wrestlers who are referred to as “heels” in wrestling parlance. “Mean Gene” would feign disgust and fear whenever a large grappler would launch into an insult tirade that would have made the late Don Rickles proud.

     By sheer coincidence ESPN college football announcers Chris Cotter and Rocky Boiman recently filmed a spoof of Okerlund’s great interviews for social media with Cotter playing the Okerlund role and Boiman playing a Ric Flair knock-off. It was very well done and can be seen on Chris Cotter’s Instagram page. I am hoping that he posts it to YouTube shortly.

     The annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference and expo took place this past weekend at the New York Hilton. APAP is where booking agents try to find work for illusionists, comedians, and musicians for both public and corporate performances.

    The decimation of record stores as Tower and Sam Goody have made it harder for older artists to stay in the public mind but I am happy to report that acts as the Buckinghams, the Classics IV, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the Grass Roots are still touring albeit with few if any original members. At least their great music is being kept alive.

     Also appearing at APAP was arguably the first rock & roll star that I knew, Chubby Checker. My mom would feed me when I was a toddler when“American Bandstand” was shown live every afternoon from Philadelphia on WFIL-TV and Chubby Checker was generally on it.

     Chubby Checker deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame just based on the fact that he created the first dance to be associated with rock & roll, The Twist. It should be noted that Chubby was more than just being “Mr. Twist” as he placed 22 other hits on the Billboard Top 40 charts and would have had more if it weren’t for the British Invasion led by the Beatles that took over a lot of the pop chart real estate from American performers as Rick Nelson, Neil Sedaka, Dion DiMucci, and of course, Checker. Unfortunately he continues to be excluded from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because former Rolling Stone publisher, Jann Wenner, who exerts a lot of influence over the selection of artists who are enshrined in that Cleveland museum, does not consider Chubby Checker worthy of that honor.

    While Chubby Checker can’t grind his hips down to below his knees on stage as he once did, recent videos of his stage performances shows that his voice has not frayed a bit. “I can still sing the same key that I did in 1960!” he told me with pride.

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